Austin Decriminalizes Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession

Saturday, May 7, 2022 was election day for voters across Texas.  For Austin, one of the most-watched decisions came in the form of Proposition A, which sought to decriminalize low-level amounts of marijuana, as well as to put and end to the use of no-knock warrants being served by police.  Following weeks of speculation regarding whether Prop A may be asking too much for some voters, it ultimately passed with ease as voters strongly voiced their favor.

Once the poll results are officially set in stone, citations and arrests will cease immediately for Class A and Class B misdemeanor marijuana possession.  Enforcement of Class C possession of paraphernalia will also cease.

In 2020, the City of Austin passed a resolution that called for an end to the low-level enforcement of  marijuana, but activists argued the city needed more than that.  Following a successful effort by the group Ground Game Texas to secure more than 30,000 petition signatures, the “Austin Freedom Act” found its way onto the May ballot.

The Austin Police Department said it largely put an end to its misdemeanor enforcement in July 2020.

The ban on no-knock warrants will also take effect once the results are fully canvassed.  Police will be required to announce their presence ahead of time, then wait 15 second before making entry into a home to serve an arrest warrant.  According to the Austin Police Association, no-knock warrants are already a rarity, with only a three or four served each year.

The final tally at the ballots was 85.5% in favor and 14.5% opposed.  The numbers will not be final until the Austin City Council formally canvasses the results.

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